On January 2, 2023, the nation was shocked by the sudden collapse of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin. Speculation was rife as to the cause of the incident, with many people suggesting that it was due to commotio cordis. This is a rare event, and one that can be fatal. In this article, we will explain what commotio cordis is, so that you can better understand why it may have been the cause of Hamlin’s collapse.
What Is Commotio Cordis?
Commotio cordis is a medical condition caused by a sudden, blunt blow to the chest that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. It is a relatively rare condition, but it is important for everyone to be aware of the possible dangers of a sudden blunt blow to the chest.
Commotio cordis is a Latin term that translates to “agitation of the heart” and it occurs when a blunt force, such as a ball or a piece of equipment, strikes the chest wall, causing the heart to go into an abnormal rhythm. This can cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or even stop beating altogether.
Who Is at Risk?
This event is most common in children, especially those playing contact sports, such as baseball, football, and hockey. It is also seen in adults, but is much less common. The most common cause of commotio cordis is a direct blow to the chest from a hard object, such as a ball or a piece of equipment. In the case of Hamlin, we see a significant collision with Bengals receiver Tee Higgens moments prior to his collapse. Other causes can include falling onto a hard surface, being struck in the chest by an object, or even being hit by a car.
The signs and symptoms of commotio cordis can vary, but are generally the same for all individuals. These include sudden loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, irregular or absent pulse, and no response to verbal commands. If the heart is still beating, it is often very rapid and irregular.
Treatment and Prevention of Commotio Cordis
Treatment for commotio cordis often includes defibrillation, which uses an electric shock to restart the heart. In some cases, medications may be used to help restore the heart’s rhythm. Other treatments, such as chest compressions, may be used to help maintain circulation. In severe cases, a pacemaker may be used to help regulate the heart’s rhythm.
The best way to prevent commotio cordis is to wear proper protective equipment while playing contact sports or participating in any activity that has the potential to cause a sudden, blunt force to the chest. It is also important to seek immediate medical attention if someone experiences any of the symptoms associated with commotio cordis.
Commotio cordis is a serious medical condition that can be life-threatening. It is important for everyone to be aware of the potential dangers of a sudden, blunt force to the chest. By taking the proper precautions, such as wearing protective gear and seeking medical attention immediately if symptoms occur, individuals can help reduce their risk of this potentially fatal condition.
Take Control of Your Heart Health With Brookhaven Heart
At Brookhaven Heart, we understand the importance of taking care of your heart. While Commotio Cordis is an extremely rare event, there are still plenty of other ailments that your heart can suffer from that are much more common. Our team of experienced professionals are dedicated to ensuring that your heart is healthy and functioning properly. We offer a range of services to help keep your heart in optimal condition. Contact us today or fill out our online form to get started on the path to a healthy heart!